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Medina of Essaouira Jewish Quarter

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Medina of Essaouira Jewish Quarter

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Basic Information

Location 31°30′47″N 9°46′11″W
Country Morocco
City Province of Essaouira, Tensift Region

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 31.51297,-9.76966

General

Essaouira (Arabic: الصويرة‎, as-Ṣawīra; Berber Tassort) is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore. The Berber name means the wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city.

History

Mohammed ben Abdallah encouraged Moroccan Jews to settle in the town and handle the trade with Europe. Jews once comprised 40% of the population, and the Jewish quarter, or mellah contain many old synagogues. The town also has a large Jewish cemetery. The city flourished until the caravan trade died, outmoded by direct European trade with sub-Saharan Africa.

Famous Figures

Rabbi Ḥaim Pinto (1748–1845) was the leading rabbi in the seaport city of Essaouira, Morocco, known in his lifetime as Mogador, Morocco. Rabbi Pinto, himself born into a distinguished rabbinic family, had four sons, Rabbi Yehouda also known as Rabbi Haddan, Rabbi Yossef, Rabbi Yehoshiya and Rabbi Yaacov.

Annually, on the anniversary of Rabbi Pinto's death, ( 26 Elloul 5605, in the Jewish calendar) Jews from around the world come on pilgrimage to pray at the rabbi's grave in the Jewish Cemetery of Essaouira.

Rabbi Pinto is remembered as a man whose prayers were received in heaven in such a way that miracles resulted.

The Ḥaim Pinto Synagogue, the building that was Rabbi Pinto's home, office and synagogue is preserved as an historic site.

Rabbi Pinto's followers and descendants have a number of synagogues worldwide, including the Pinto Center synagogue on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, which was founded by Rabbi Yaacov Pinto.

Contemporary descendants include Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto,Rabbi Ḥaim Pinto of Ashdod, Israel, Rabbi David Pinto

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Country

Morocco

City


Affiliation



Time period

16th-18th century